Fri - July 4, 2008

5 Pictures in 1: HDR Image of Sea Wind Canoe and Colorado Sunset



Lonetree Reservoir, Colorado - HDR
Sea Wind Canoe on the Lonetree Reservoir with sunset over Rocky Mountains Front Range, Colorado
5 exposures from -2EV to +2EV. Camera: Canon EOS 40D on a tripod, Canon EFs 17-55 mm zoom lens.

... from Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography:





Lonetree Reservoir sunset -2EV
Lonetree Reservoir sunset -1EV
Lonetree Reservoir sunset  0EV
Lonetree Reservoir sunset +1EV
Lonetree Reservoir sunset +2EV

For years photographers have struggled to work around limitations of available light: from fine tuning exposure, to relying on flash, to inverting in expensive lighting setups. The advent of digital photography offered many advantages over film for manipulating light, but even today's high-end professional cameras are often not capable of capturing the full dynamic range of light in a single image.

High dynamic range (HDR) digital photography offers a solution. By taking multiple photographs of the same scene at varying exposure levels then merging and tone mapping them with HDR software, photographers of all skill levels can master even the most difficult lighting situations with ease. The resulting images can be ultra-realistic or incredibly surreal.

I have been playing with HDR photography for a longer while, but I am getting more serious with this technique. So, here is the HDR image from my recent evening paddling on the Lonetree Reservoir near Loveland, Colorado: sunset over mountains and white Sea Wind canoe. There was no way I could include in this scene my paddling partner, Pixel, who was extremely busy chasing dragonflies.

I shot five frames of this scene in the aperture mode with Canon EOS 40D DSLR camera on a tripod with exposure varying from -2 EV to +2 EV (see thumbnails on left). I combined them into the HDR image using Photomatix software, then I applied tone mapping (details enhancer) to obtain the final image. Of course, many different settings and interpretations are possible.

You will see more HDR pictures coming into this blog. It may be a solution for problems of photographing white and black (carbon fiber) decks of my boats. Well, at least, when I am using a DSLR camera. Taking multiple exposures with a tripod mounted Pentax Optio W30 without any shaking may be more challenging.

You can find numerous on-line resources and tutorials on HDR photography. There are also several books on the subject. I have bought two books which I can recommend: Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography by Ferrell McCollough and, and a little bit more technical Mastering HDR Photography by Michael Freeman.

The Lonetree Reservoir is a great place to observe nice sunsets over the Front Range of Rocky Mountains. Here are some other sunset pictures from that location:


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